Absenteeism; the cynical sickie
n years gone by, it was common for industrial instruments, particularly awards, to contain a provision to the effect that an employer was entitled to withhold payment to an employee for a public holiday taken by the employee if the employee was absent from the workplace on a working day before or after a public holiday without reasonable, and vouched for, explanation. Nowadays in the age of political correctness, it is no longer apparently thought appropriate for employers and employees to be realistic and acknowledge that levels of absenteeism increase the day before or the day after a public holiday and this statistic justifies there being an increased onus upon the employee to justify the absence, or face remuneration being deducted for what, in the absence of proof, might reasonably be assumed to be a cynical cheating of the system. Of course it is quite possible for employers and employees to agree to this in an enterprise agreement. However, I have been unable to locate a modern award which allows the practice.